Guest Post: Christmas – my favourite time of the year by Carmel Harrington

Posted November 16, 2015 by thischickreads in guest post / 0 Comments

Hi guys,

today we have the pleasure to welcome lovely Carmel Harrington to our blog. Carmel  is the author of three novels, including her latest ‘Every Time A Bell Rings’ which was released by Harper Impulse as kindle on 15th October, while the paperback will be out on Thursday. Carmel is well known for writing beautiful, poignant stories and we can’t wait to read her new one. Today, she’s here to talk about her family’s Christmas tradition and we’d like to thank lovely Carmel for stopping by our blog and for her gorgeous post.







Thank you so much for having me on your fabulous blog. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. There’s nothing about it, that I dislike. My family have some wonderful traditions that help make the holiday magical and special.


Here are just a few of them …


Decorating the tree


In our house, this happens on the 1st December. If I had my way, I’d probably go a little earlier. Like now. But my husband valiantly tries to hold onto a non sparkling house for as long as possible. He’s up against it, because I have two strong allies. The children, like myself, are already super excited, planning where our trees will go. Yes, plural, because we have two! One in our living room and one in our open plan kitchen, dining and family room, where we hang out most of the time.

It’s all about the trees in our house. I like to hang some mantel swags and of course a wreath on the door, but my main focus is on the eclectic assortment of decorations for our tree. I’ve been collecting them for decades. With Michael Buble carolling in the background and some special festive treats at hand, we’ll all happily spend a day getting the house ready for Christmas.



Smyths Toy Catalogue


The arrival of the Christmas toy catalogue is a big moment in our house. The children will sit down at our kitchen table, marker pens in hand, and diligently mark the items that they would like for Christmas.

Now, this exercise will have to be repeated many times. The first time, both Amelia and Nate will mark nearly every item in the catalogue. I’ll gently remind them, that Santa Claus cannot possibly bring ALL the toys to this house, so they will go back and do some ruthless culling. Eventually, a wish list is made and it’s time to write to Santa Claus. The innocence and the wonder on the faces of my children, as the letters disappear up our chimney, to magic their way to the North Pole, never fails to render me an emotional mess.


Visiting Santa


Every year we try to visit Santa in a different location. We are very lucky, because Santa is accessible now in more and more fun places! We’ve travelled in a vintage car to a georgian house, walked through a wardrobe to Narnia and enjoyed a steam train ride all to meet the big man himself. Wherever we decide to go each year, we make a day of it. We dress in our favourite festive jumpers, with hats and scarves keeping us warm. And, aside from meeting Santa, each year on this day, the children get to chose one decoration to hang on our tree at home. It’s magical, every singe time, no matter where we are.


Christmas Night Out


Life can be hectic. Work deadlines and commitments, the children, mean that often our social life is put on the long finger. But no matter how crazy schedules are, we always have a Christmas night out. The kind of night that involves a sequinned party dress, high heels, lippy and lots of prosecco. And there will be dancing and probably some singing too. I love going out this time of the year. Every one has a smile on their face and the air crackles with excitement.


Christmas FM


On December 1st, Christmas FM, a radio station dedicated to playing non-stop Christmas songs and carols, takes to the air in Ireland. It’s impossible not to smile while listening. We’ll all sing along each with our favourites and sometimes we’ll jump up and dance too. Music is such an important part of Christmas for me. Different carols or songs will evoke a precious memory and in turn create new ones for years to come. I like to think of myself with grandchildren, still listening to this station. And perhaps when a song comes on, like Silver Bells, I’ll remember singing it to Amelia and Nate. That’s a nice thought isn’t it?



Thanks for having me Ana,

Happy Christmas,






Carmel always dreamed of being a writer, but as is often the way, life took her in another direction. That is, until four years ago when she quit her job as a Sales and Marketing Manager and began to write full time. Fast forward to today, Carmel has joined the prestigious HarperCollins publishing house, is represented by Trace Literary Agency, with three books published. She has also won several international book awards.
Carmel writes emotional family dramas and they share one common theme – strong characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. She loves to dig deep and see how they cope, as they grapple with life-changing moments. 
Carmel is a regular on Irish TV as one of the panelists on TV3’s Midday Show and a regular guest on radio stations. A popular freelance writer, she has written features for The Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, The Evening Herald & Woman’s Way and USA’s acclaimed online blog, Mothering In The Middle. Carmel is also a motivational keynote speaker and has given talks at events in Ireland, UK and US. 

Living with her husband Roger and young children Amelia and Nate in a small coastal village in Wexford, she credits the idyllic setting as a constant source of inspiration.



Buy ‘Every Time A Bell Rings’ on and

Find Carmel Harrington on her site, facebook and twitter

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